Environment

In the Greater Mekong Subregion, 200 million people in rural areas depend on their surrounding environment for food, water, energy, and income. Forests, wetlands, mangroves, farmlands, and other ecosystems account for between 20% and 55% of the subregion's wealth.

The Working Group on Environment (WGE) provides overall leadership and direction for the subregion's Core Environment Program.


Natural ecosystems – and the food, water, energy, and other vital elements they provide – lie at the heart of the development of the Greater Mekong Subregion. How these natural resources are protected, managed, and enhanced will determine the long-term sustainability of its environment and economic development.

Overexploitation of natural resources, pollution, vulnerability to climate change, and ever-increasing natural disasters are threatening these ecosystems. In addition, environmental degradation is posing risks to sustained long-term growth, and could cost a whopping $55 billion in foregone services over the next 25 years if left unchecked.

Unless there is better planning and management, the subregion’s resource-intensive development approach could lead to food shortages, price shocks, health hazards, and environmental damage that impact thousands of families and put businesses at risk.

The GMS Economic Cooperation Program Strategic Framework 2030 (GMS-2030) will focus on improving environmental sustainability and climate change resilience in the subregion. Environment and climate change challenges will be addressed through green technologies; protection of ecosystems and key ecological processes; climate resilience policies; and disaster-risk management, all of which will recognize the essential role that communities play as stewards of natural resources. A systematic effort will be made to mainstream climate change considerations into all GMS interventions, with a focus on energy efficiency, renewable energy, climate-smart landscapes, and sustainable waste management, particularly in terms of healthy ocean and river systems, and the tackling of plastic pollution. GMS-2030 was endorsed and adopted at the 7th GMS Summit of Leaders in September 2021. It aims to provide a new setting for the development of this subregion for the next decade.

The Core Environment Program Strategic Framework and Action Plan 2018-2022 was endorsed by GMS ministers at the 5th GMS Environment Ministers' Meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand, held on 30 January – 1 February 2018. The 5-year environment strategy focuses on green technologies and sustainable infrastructure, natural resources and ecosystem services, and climate resilience and disaster risk management.

The GMS Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability Program (GMS CCESP), the third and current phase of the GMS Core Environment Program, supports environmental cooperation and green investments in the GMS. It covers six priority themes that were identified during the 24th Annual Meeting of the GMS WGE in 2019: (a) building climate and disaster resilience; (b) facilitating low carbon transitions; (c) promoting climate-smart landscapes; (d) enhancing environmental quality through pollution control and sustainable waste management; (e) deploying digital technologies for climate actions and environmental sustainability; and (f) financing low-carbon and climate-resilient infrastructure and technologies, including demonstrating climate and disaster risk financing instruments. The GMS CCESP builds on the achievements and lessons from the first two phases of the GMS Core Environment Program, and runs until 2025.

The GMS Core Environment Program was designed to help countries in the GMS meet the increasing demand for food, energy, water, and other natural resources, while at the same time ensuring that resources are available for future generations. This included balancing rapid growth with sustainable practices, and protecting vital water resources, controlling floods, preserving biodiversity and critical ecosystems, and mitigating the impacts of urban expansion.

Related

Summary of Proceedings

GMS CCESP Newsletters

GMS Core Environment Program website

Greater Mekong Subregion Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability Program (Brochure)

Focal Persons at the Asian Development Bank

  • Srinivasan Ancha
    Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Division,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Mark Bezuijen
    Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Division,
    East Asia Department

Other Concerned Staff & Consultants

  • Asadullah Sumbal
    Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Rafaelita Jamon
    Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division,
    Southeast Asia Department/GMS Secretariat

Send inquiries to GMS SAFSP Secretariat and GMS Secretariat.

Plant Sciences Degree at the Faculty of Agriculture. Students at the National University of Lao PDR use microscopes to study plant pests. ADB is helping the Lao PDR, through the Improved Sanitary and Phytosanitary Handling in Greater Mekong Subregion Trade Project, to supply skilled human resources who can help ensure a safe, healthy, and profitable product that benefits the Lao people and the Lao economy.

GMS Trade Project in Lao PDR Boosts Knowledge in Plant Health

It is important for Lao PDR to have their own experts that know how to survey, monitor, understand and protect their food system. Having specialists that understand the context in which Lao plants can be grown and protected helps ensure that crops will be grown in harmony with local environments and communities.

GMS in the News

The wind power plant located in Subyai district, Chaiyaphum province, Thailand, is expected to contribute to Thailand's initiative to boost energy security using clean energy sources. Photo by Patarapol Tularak/ADB. 

26th GMS WGE Annual Meeting (WGE AM26)

The 26th GMS WGE Annual Meeting will discuss key challenges and possible solutions for the region in the light of the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) and the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) and in preparation on their pathway to the upcoming COP27 and COP15 in 2022.

Events

ADB’s new partnership strategy for Viet Nam is anchored on the recognition that the country needs tailor-made solutions to best meet its development challenges. Photo by ADB. 

ADB Launches New Country Partnership Strategy for Viet Nam

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has launched a new country partnership strategy (CPS) for Viet Nam covering the period 2023–2026. The strategy will help promote inclusive, green, and private sector-led development in Viet Nam and build a foundation for the country to achieve its goal of becoming upper middle-income by 2030.

GMS in the News

The Guangxi Li River Comprehensive Ecological Management and Demonstration Project will implement sustainable village preservation and low-carbon facilities. Photo by ADB.

ADB to Support Preservation of Guilin in PRC

 The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $140 million loan to improve the environmental and economic conditions in Guilin in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China.

“Rapid urbanization has become a threat to Guilin's natural resources and sustainable development,” said ADB Senior Transport Specialist for East Asia Nicolas Dei Castelli. “This project will include a number of innovative solutions with demonstration potential, including low-carbon mobility, inclusive sanitation, and institutional development.”

GMS in the News

7th Mekong–Lancang Cooperation Adopts Joint Statements on Cooperation in Agriculture and Trade Facilitation

Foreign ministers of Mekong–Lancang Cooperation member countries vowed to strengthen their cooperation in economic integration, agriculture and food security, green development, innovation, public health and people-to-people exchanges, at the 7th Mekong - Lancang Cooperation meeting. 

The meeting adopted four joint statements on strengthening agricultural cooperation, disaster prevention, customs and trade facilitation, and exchanges between MLC civilizations. 

GMS in the News

Conserving Nature’s Resources and Securing Livelihoods in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic

ADB has been helping to protect biodiversity conservation corridors in the Lao PDR since 2006 through a range of conservation and protection activities. In 2011, ADB approved $20 million grant for the BCC project. The project helped restore, protect, and manage biodiversity corridor sustainably. In 2016, ADB approved additional grant financed by the Climate Investment Funds through its Forest Investment Program to help manage the biodiversity corridors and scale up activities to stop deforestation and forest degradation in the country.

Multimedia


Call for Proposals: Submit Applications for Pilot Demonstrations under the GMS Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability Program

Demonstrations are one of the main activities of the CCESP in order to help enhance climate resilience, green growth, and environmental quality in the GMS. The program plans to have 27 demonstrations relating to the different themes (such as demonstrations on gender-responsive community resilience projects, and on the circular economy, pollution control, and waste management, etc.). Each demonstration project will have a budget of $40,000.

News Releases